Editor’s Note: Gauging the pulse of the roofing industry annually continues to be a challenge as roofers adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace. In addition to the survey circulated last fall that laid the foundation for the 2024 Roofing Report, RC also sought out the opinions of leaders from all segments of the industry.

As part of RC’s continuing coverage, here’s what Rich Thompson, vice president of marketing at ABC Supply Co., Inc., shared with us.

RC: How would you sum up 2023 for ABC Supply?

RT: 2023 brought some fantastic growth for ABC Supply. We continued to delve further into solar energy and expanded our footprint both nationally and internationally. We also gave back to our communities and organizations in big ways, raising over $3.2 million for Homes For Our Troops during the Indianapolis 500 campaign and granting wishes for children with critical illnesses with our annual $1 million donation to Make-A-Wish. In addition, we delivered on our hiring pledge, exceeding our goal of hiring one veteran per day, with 400+ veterans joining the team in 2023. As we look back on the year, we’re so proud of what we accomplished together.

RC: Can you share how the acquisitions and growth over the past 12 months position ABC for future success?

RT: We expanded our presence across North America, welcoming 42 new locations and the addition of British Columbia, Canada, into the ABC Supply family.

These new acquisitions helps us grow our reach to better support our customers wherever their jobs take them. All in all, this progress helps us stay true to our commitment to be the biggest, best and easiest service company distributing select exterior and interior building products that contractors can count on for their projects across North America.

RC: How would you characterize the state of the roofing industry in 2024?

RT: We expect to see an ongoing shortage of skilled labor in the industry, causing challenges for contractors in finding and retaining qualified roofers (which will also impact project timelines). Despite these challenges, there is great opportunity for anyone interested in getting into the trades due to high demand, new incentives and the exciting increase in tech integration throughout the industry.

RC: How is ABC impacted by the workforce shortage the roofing industry is experiencing?

RT: The industry's workforce shortage [impacts] us as a supplier since fewer active roofers leads to delayed projects and increased workloads for contractors. To support contractors, we’re continuing to leverage technology with myABCsupply online ordering and our newest ABC API. These tools enable contractors to seamlessly integrate ABC Supply data into their existing workflows and help them keep their projects moving efficiently.

RC: Our annual survey of roofing contractors showed a lot of optimism in the marketplace. Why do you think that is, and do you share that viewpoint??

RT: Yes, the optimism for these sales aligns with our projections. Residentially, we're seeing strong housing demand and a continual trend of renovations. In the commercial sector, there's a rise in infrastructure investments.

While we are optimistic, our teams continue to explore market-specific factors, including zoning regulations, material popularity and availability, potential supply chain disruptors and unique projects. Staying on top of these areas helps our teams be more prepared for market demand.

RC: The survey data also reflects increased popularity of metal, coatings and solar. Any insights into the continued growth in these specific categories? How is ABC Supply adjusting or meeting the demand?

RT: The increasing popularity of these product categories is exciting, and we're seeing it become more and more common in ordering patterns. There are many compelling factors that contribute to their widespread appeal: Metal's sustainability and longevity align well with modern building trends, high-performance coatings offer functional benefits like improved energy efficiency, and solar solutions address environmental concerns and provide cost savings.

To meet the growing demand and stay current with our customers' needs, we're continuing to expand our renewable energy product offerings and adding solar rooftop delivery to our services in select markets. We’re also working closely with our customers and manufacturing partners to make sure we have the right products available to meet the growing demands of metal and coatings.

RC: What other trends are you watching?

RT: We're continuing to keep a close eye on the renewable energy sector, focusing on changes in energy efficiency regulations and developments in installation expertise. We're seeing a rising trend of newcomers entering the trade industry, offering potential opportunities for training and technology. We are also excited to see the expansion of Latino entrepreneurs establishing business across the U.S. As we look to 2024, we will be providing even more resources to support the growth and stability of these businesses.

RC: What are you proudest of about the company?

RT: We are proud of our ongoing commitment to our team and their commitment to meet the needs of their customers and the communities they live in. We're also excited to continue the momentum from our tech innovations, including our ABC API and myABCsupply enhancements, which will make contractors' jobs even easier in 2024.

RC: What about the roofing industry has you optimistic?

RT: We’re optimistic for the future of the roofing industry and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. It is phenomenal to see the push for innovation and technological advancement within our company and throughout the industry, driving efficiency. It’s also inspiring to see the ongoing workforce development taking place and a commitment to sustainability as renewable energy options, like solar, are becoming more commonplace.